; Cwyn's Death By Tea: First, and Last Thoughts ;

Sunday, August 3, 2014

First, and Last Thoughts

This is an epitaph. You are reading the last blog of a tea-head. For I am in the last stages, and I intend to die by tea.

Most drinkers of aged tea write about the complexity involved in choosing puerh tea to keep for the long haul. I don't have that kind of time. All of my tea will either outlive me or I will have drunk it all up. As such, I have an agenda, and this agenda is not to educate people about tea, or about teaware, puerh, Yunnan, or anything else. Other people are doing these things, and rather well, and so the legacy from those before me is that I get to buy and drink the best possible tea.

And I need to hurry. The medication list for my chronic health conditions is getting longer by the year. I am aging faster than my tea. Almost done for. What would you drink, if you know the sum and total of your remaining days? Most appropriately, here is "Last Thoughts" 2014 by White2Tea.

Last Thoughts 2014, by White2Tea
 Now, if you know this cake, you also know what it costs. An absurd sum of $435.50. This alone has the vast majority of tea bloggers choking on their 7542. With good reason. Most people I know have other things to spend money on. Such as children.

One blogger I enjoy reading is Hobbes the Half-Dipper, especially because of the wistful photos of his young children, taken from behind them, as if already yearning for that delicate toddlerhood slipping so quickly away. In fact, I tend to remember the photos of his children better than the actual teas he writes about. Saving money for one's children is a righteous act.

But let me tell you where it all eventually goes. Child grows, goes to college, graduates from college and you get this:
Dear Son
That's right. Unemployed college graduate child sits in front of computer all night long. Sleeps all day.

What else in life can I check off my list? PhD, checked. Long and interesting career, checked. Nice house, checked. Designer clothes that no longer fit, checked. Absurd number of years spent in celibate monasteries, checked. Equally absurd number of years spent in non-celibate bedrooms, checked. Travels to exotic destinations, checked. Famous on the stage? Done that. Art shows? Yep. Play stringed instrument in orchestra? Check that, married the cellist, birthed a bassoonist together, and cellist now plays elsewhere. Oh, and advanced math too? Love it. Kanji? Bring it on, am learning.

Last Thoughts is a purchase of a life well lived. Yes, it's a concept, not a cake, but White2Tea promises in few words that this cake will be worth my bucket list. Smells nice enough, hate to break it up, but I go look again at photo of Dear Son Above and hell yes I crack into it.
Autopsy Tool
Eight grams into a gaiwan, my cup serveth 125 ml at tip top, just slightly under that. Rinse, first steep clear. I am braced for bitterness but the first steep tastes light. I can smell the fruitiness of young puerh and am expecting the usual apricot in subsequent steeps, but I get two notes above that: white grapes. No smokiness whatsoever, have to remove my glasses to spy any specks of char in the strainer. Tea is very thick, you might be able to spy tea bubbles dried in little circles  on the sides of the gaiwan. The photo here shows the fourth steep.

Fourth Steep, Leaves barely unfurled.
Fifth steep. Dear Son manages to get out of bed in the middle of the afternoon to interrupt me with his Younger and far Wiser self. Forgot that 5th steep in the gaiwan, returned to find a thick, yellow and very bitter brew. Nice! Dug out some leaves at this point, they have barely begun to unfurl.

The whole of Life: buds, tiny leaves, grown-ups, old farts.
Later in the evening, I return to my gaiwan for more steeps. The leaves now are coming out of the top of the gaiwan and I need a toothpick to stir the lot up from the bottom. Bedtime and this tea is past 15 steeps and isn't done yet.

And neither am I.

When I bought this cake, I didn't know that TwoDog hails from my state of Wisconsin. Somehow that chokes me up when I think of it. Really means a lot that the cake behind my narrative is sourced by a fellow Badger. So much I have needed in my life comes from Wisconsin. If a month goes by I don't post here, I hope that someone will know to pin the Last Thoughts wrapper to my tombstone, along with the epitaph

She Steeped it Out.


  1. Thank you for everything about this post.

  2. I am enjoying a 4th steeping of this beautiful, mind-blowing tea as I read your post. As someone in the middle of my life - somewhere between you and your son - I deeply appreciate your words. Take care and cheers

  3. Late to find your blog and read this post but know that there is another fellow cheesehead out there who also has this cake and loves it a lot.

  4. Now I've been back to front I guess it's time to go front to back. What a riot, who knew brewing tea could be so laden with innuendo.